"Philip Seymour Hoffman is as usual scintillating and brilliant"
Charlie Wilson, a playboy congressman that finds inspiration from a hot tub. Charlie Wilson decides he must do something for the Afghans when the Soviets invade. He manages to increase the budget from $5million to $1billion with the help of a tell like it is CIA officer and a Texas socialite.
I am part of today's younger generation, so although the subject matter is heavy I was engaged by the witty characters and strong performances. Director Mike Nicols holds the entire escapade together , delivering a film that zips along in a quick 90 minutes. I found it insightful and eye-opening with the perfect balance of politics and humour.
Tom Hanks was incredible as a small-time Texas Congressman whose constituents only wanted lower taxes and to keep their guns. Not a hard job, so he had plenty of time to fool around - and that he did. His office staff looked as if he were at the Playboy Mansion. Like he reportedly said, "You can teach them to type, but you can't teach them to grow tits." Despite his sexist attitude, which fits right in with a Texas Congressman, they were fiercely loyal, especially his aide, Amy Adams (Junebug & former Hooters girl). The supporting cast are strong. Amy Adams' performance is effective and underrated. Emily Blunt in her sexy, and that's an understatement, extremely sexy, brief performance is quite memorable.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is as usual scintillating and brilliant - here playing a damaged but ultra-smart CIA manipulator. Rarely is film humour laugh-out loud and also serious and smart. This hits the spot time after time with a biting satirical edge that makes you both laugh and weep at the state of the world (often simultaneously).
Julia Roberts who starts off extremely strong and loses steam quickly. Roberts plays wealthy Texan Joanne Herring who brought the war to Congressman Charlie's attention. Her cattiness is fun and evident but by the end I felt the role was too underdeveloped for the audience to engage themselves in her.
This film deserves to be seen and to be recognised for finding an extraordinary balance between the darkest of dark subject matter and the lightness of touch of it's sparkling witty script. It's an insightful film which never gets too far away from smart comedy and it does manage to raise quite a few questions on religion, women's rights and government corruption. I think a couple of Oscars could be in the future for Charlie Wilson's War. It's a thought provoking film that should not be missed.
On a more serious note I am left wondering - is this a story of how America put the Taliban in power?